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Who stole the ruby red slippers from The Wizard of Oz? Watch our exclusive clip as Expedition Unknown’s Josh Gates gets on the case

The theft of the ruby red slippers from the classic movie The Wizard of Oz stands as one of the most infamous thefts of iconic Hollywood memorabilia.

The ruby slippers were worn by Judy Garland when she played Dorothy Gale in MGM’s 1929 film.

An unknown number of pairs were made during the making of the movie, but at least five pairs are known to have survived. They are considered one of the most valuable items of movie memorabilia in history.

The slippers that were stolen were swiped from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in August 2005. An investigation found that various security measures at the museum had been bypassed or were not working.

On Discovery series Expedition Unknown, Josh discovers that the robust looking outside security door had its alarm disabled. This allowed the thieves to break the glass and enter the building. The door to the main museum area was left unlocked, again allowing easy access for the robbers.

ruby red slippers from the movie Wizard of Oz
Dorothy’s ruby red slippers from the classic movie Wizard of Oz

They then simply had to walk to the display and smash the glass to get their hands on the slippers. A CCTV camera directly opposite the slipper display should have caught the thieves on film, but it was switched off!

Josh Gates visits the Judy Garland Museum with Joe Maddelena
Josh Gates visits the Judy Garland Museum with Joe Maddelena
Josh looks at the Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz with conservationist Dawn Wallace
Josh examines another pair of the ruby slippers with conservationist Dawn Wallace

During the episode, Josh points out that there are just too many coincidences for it to have been some lucky amateurs who took them. The unlocked door, disabled alarm and switched off cameras all point to one things…an inside job.

Where can you see Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers

The Smithsonian Institution have one of the pairs from the movie and you can see them at The National Museum of American History. The pair they have are felt soled and fairly worn, indicating that they were used for a lot of the dance routines.

Interesting to note that in the book the slippers are actually described as silver, but red showed up much better on film against the yellow-brick road.

Tune in tonight as Josh and the team delve into this mysterious crime!

Expedition Unknown airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Discovery.


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